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Test Development

The College Board takes great care to ensure that all test questions — and their answer choices — allow students to demonstrate their best thinking and show that they’re ready for college.

Creating Test Questions

The SAT is built on a solid foundation developed through research and collaboration with higher education professionals. Test Development Committees, which are made up of experienced educators and subject-matter experts, decide on the test specifications: the types of questions asked and the topics and areas that should be covered. Then test developers write the questions.

Reviewing Test Questions

Committees of high school and college instructors review every question to ensure that each one meets these criteria:

  • It measures important knowledge, skills, and understanding.
  • It’s fair to all students.
  • It’s written in a way that models what students are learning in the best high school classrooms.

At least 12 professional test developers and educators review every SAT question.

Key Development Steps

After they’re written to specification, SAT questions go through development steps that include:

  • Review of questions for content
  • Review of questions for fairness
  • Pretest of questions with students
  • Analysis of tryout results
  • Assembly and review of draft version of test
  • Outside faculty review
  • Policy committee review
  • Statistical analysis after test administration